Founding partner of the Gombessa expeditions, Blancpain has been backing the ambitious projects of diver, biologist and underwater photographer Laurent Ballesta for eight years. Each mission he leads is characterised by a scientific mystery, a diving challenge, and the promise of extraordinary images. Conducted in 2019 in the Mediterranean off the French coast, Gombessa V was no exception to this rule. During the expedition, which required two years of preparation, Laurent Ballesta and three companions achieved a world first: associating saturation diving with scuba using closed circuit rebreathers. Supported on ground by a team of 30 professionals, the four men spent 28 days submerged in a 5m2 bathyal station, leaving it each day to explore the underwater environment at depths of 60 to 145 metres. In total, 400 hours of diving time were cumulated in the sea's obscurity. Despite the extreme circumstances, this unprecedented technique enabled the divers to discover and photograph 21 new underwater species, thus revealing the Mediterranean's well kept secrets.
The Mediterranean as you have never seen it before, Gombessa V "The Deep Med", is on ARTE September 19th, 2020 at 8:50pm (CET). You may also discover the documentary film online on the French, German, Spanish and Italian pages of ARTE.tv, now and until November 17th, 2020.